15 “After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.” 16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: “Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen.” (Acts 13:15–16)
Paul and Barnabas entered the synagogue in Pisidia Antioch on the Sabbath Day (Acts 13:14). Following the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue asked them if they had a word of encouragement to share to the people in attendance. Indicative of his growing leadership role, Paul, not Barnabas, stood up and after motioning with his hand before the people said, “Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen.”
Dr. R.C. Sproul comments that, “In Antioch, following what had obviously become their strategic practice, Paul and Barnabas go into the synagogue for Sabbath worship. Luke reports that the Scriptures are read as part of the liturgy, which typically included a sermon that a visitor might be invited to deliver. Thus, the Antioch synagogue leaders ask Paul and Barnabas together whether they have ‘a word of exhortation.” And so Paul stands to speak.”
It is interesting and ironic to note that Paul’s sermon is reminiscent of Stephen’s (Acts 7). It was Stephen’s sermon which initiated Saul of Tarsus’ reign of terror upon the early church. Therefore, it is fitting that Luke recorded Paul’s message, which begins, like Stephen’s, as a survey of Israel’s history (Acts 13:17-25).
Paul told the synagogue audience of God’s blessings upon the Jewish people. He recalled how God chose the Jews, how He delivered them out of Egypt, protected them in the desert, and brought them into the Promised Land. Paul also remembered the spiritual leaders God provided for the nation: judges, prophets and kings.
Paul then stated that the greatest king was David. King David was a man after God’s own heart and one who would do God’s will (Acts 13:23). It would be through the lineage of David that God brought forth a Savior: Jesus Christ. It was Jesus who John the Baptist proclaimed as the One whose way he was preparing (Acts 13:24-25).
In presenting the Gospel, it is biblically wise for us to also share the person and work of God the Father in preparing and protecting His people for the coming of the Messiah, God the Son: Jesus Christ.
Prepare yourselves for such a presentation to someone you know who does not know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Joining me each day at this website is a good way to begin such a preparation.
Soli deo Gloria!